Help! What do I wear?!

Is it just me or does it seem like picking your outfits for family portraits is the hardest part of the whole process? Fortunately, I enjoy helping my clients find the best option for their photos. Generally I advise avoiding large, bright, or busy patterns. The last thing you want is for your clothing to take center stage instead of you! Whites, creams, beiges are complimentary to most skin tones and make for a very clean look. Navy blue, dark green, maroon, and other dark, subtle colors are also classic.

When you consider the backdrop, typically colorful foliage in a park such as flowers, leaves, or fall tones, you don't want to clash or overpowering the natural colors of your setting.

When in doubt, go neutral

What is more fresh than white and blue for a summer family photo session? Playing off your tan skin and the vibrant colors of the backdrop, a clean white and blue coordinating color palette is simply classic.

Don't match, coordinate!

My favorite tip for family groups, especially with lots of kids or extended family, is to avoid matching outfits and go for complimentary colors and a varied palette. F0r example, the family below opted for a palette of whites, creams, navy blues, yellows, and beiges. You will also notice that three of them have navy blue tops, two have white/cream, and one has brown. For bottoms, many of them wore some kind of dark neutral like grays and blues but one of their sons wore a yellow and it looked fantastic. The variety of outfits shows individuality but the complementary colors and consistency bring them all together as a family.

Equally Vibrant

Sometimes you just look good in a brighter color. That's ok! Go with it. Ultimately these photos are of you and your tastes and preferences should come through. You should look like yourselves and love your images. If you feel confident and are comfortable in what you are wearing, you will look more happy and natural in your photos! My tip for brighter colors is to make sure they complement each other. This family went with whites, blues, and yellows and the blue in the father's shirt is a nice complement to the mother's lemon and floral pattern dress. Their outfits are similarly vibrant which is great.

Patterns with Personality

Sometimes your kids clothes are as vibrant as their spirits. If they want to pick out their own outfits and they choose colorful patterns, try to coordinate with them by choosing neutrals or pick up on some colors in their outfits. This boy's dinosaur Hawaiian style shirt picks up well on his eye color and includes some yellow-brown neutrals that are easy to match. While I love to recommend neutrals, sometimes patterned or stylized outfits can give clues to the child's personality or interests. How we dress ourselves is always an outward expression of who we are and we are all unique!

Mommy and Me

I love a good mother-daughter matching outfit! Yellow is a great choice for two beautiful blondes in a sweet lavender field. Matching dresses or using the same fabric on both mom's and her child's outfits helps show the endless, loving connection between a mother and her children.

Deep, earthy colors

This look works year round but it is especially good for fall. When foliage is bright red, orange, and golden glowing yellow, pairing with earthy neutrals is the way to go.

When in doubt, lay it out!

Not sure how your clothes will look all together in a photo? Sometimes the best way is to lay them out side by side, next to each other. This will give you a good preview how the outfits will look all together in a grouping. However, if possible, you should consider the color(s) of the background. If you are booking a fall foliage, sunflower, lavender, or other floral type session, consider adding something that is the color of the leaves, sunflowers, or lavender to your layout to determine if you think your outfit colors will look good with your backdrop. Especially with sunflowers which are so vibrant, you will want to make sure you find a complementary palette.

You can also search Pinterest or instagram for outfit ideas! Let me know what you think of my tips or if I missed anything you think I should add. Email your comments to